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There are many resources that you will need to access if you are considering adding training service dogs and their handlers to your business offerings.
One of the most important things is that you need to be great working with people and knowledgeable about disabilities and how they affect your client’s life. To date, there is little, if any, resources to specifically train the human part of the service dog training team. Since that is who you will actually be training, that makes it more challenging!
Obtaining some sort of teaching certificate or degree: (6 months to 4 year programs available)
- provincial or state instructor’s diploma
- adult education
- general education
Volunteering with people with disabilities is another. There are physical disabilities (paraplegia, arthritis, hearing impaired, blindness), mental disabilities (memory issues, learning, dizziness), emotional disabilities (anxiety, PTSD, autism) and medical disabilities (allergies, chemical sensitivities, diabetes, seizures) and many others.
Counselling experience would be an asset since we spend much of our time counselling the people as well as teaching about dog training.
Teaching Resources (books)
Dr. Rise Van Fleet
Note: There is no official government body that oversees dog training and who offers certification or classes.
There are however, two key organizations that are internationally recognized for service dogs.
Assistance Dogs International ADI
Offers to accreditation to non-profit service dog organizations
International Association for Assistance Dogs Partners IAADP
Offer Affiliate memberships
Service Dog Laws
It is important to learn about the laws related to service and assistance dogs.
In general, most countries have human rights laws and disability laws that protect the rights of the individual who has the service dog.
For the USA,
The Americans with Disabilities Act ADA
In Canada, each province has their own laws regarding guide and service dogs.
British Columbia, Alberta and Nova Scotia now have a certification process for owner-trained teams.
Learn More About the Training Process
and Becoming a Training Coach for Service Dogs and Assistance Dogs:
Here are some resources I trust to help start you off.
Check out Service Dog Training Institute SDTI’s classes:
These online self-paced classes help you to work though the process of training owners to train their own service dog. Not only training behaviors and tasks, but lectures and tips on the specifics for service dogs are woven throughout.
A General Introduction to Training Service Dog Teams:
Sharon Washer offers a series of webinars.
Barbara Handelman has a 3 Tier Service Dog Course that she offers online.
Veronica Sanchez has an overview class as well as a 12 week coaching certificate.
West Virginia University offers classes about training service dogs and uses positive reinforcement.
Hearts of Gold
If you want more detail about the ins and outs of teaching people to teach their dog and teaching dogs, please contact me for a private 1 hour webcam session.
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